Jun 19, 2012 (Dow Jones) BEIJING -- China's copper imports will likely stay at elevated levels in June, judging by the high daily volume of copper contracts traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, Barclays Commodities Research said in a note Tuesday.
"SHFE traded volumes have typically had a positive correlation with copper import volumes, with the month-on-month changes in import levels lagging SHFE traded volumes by between one to two months," Barclays analyst Nicholas Snowdon said.
Imports of copper and copper products in May rose 65% from a year earlier and 12% from April, bucking analyst expectations of a sequential decline.
However, Barclays noted that the trend tracked SHFE copper traded volumes, which rose from 453,000 contracts traded in March to 540,000 in April.
Traded volume rose 13% in May compared with April, and is so far up about 5% this month, Snowdon said in the note.
"This indicator at least weighs against the anticipation of sequential declines in import volumes mid-year."
Higher domestic physical prices and more attractive price differentials with London counterparts may have encouraged imports this month, underpinning spot copper prices, Barclays said.